Peter Nygard, the founder and chairman of Canadian fashion company Nygard International, is facing jail time in the Bahamas after a property spat involving hedge fund manager Louis Bacon took a new twist.
Nygard will be arrested upon returning to the Bahamas, where he and Save the Bays, a nonprofit backed by Bacon’s foundation, have long been battling in court, according to Fred Smith, an attorney with Callenders & Co. who represents the nonprofit. His contempt of court and alleged theft of confidential emails, between attorneys at Callenders, Bacon, and Save the Bays, have led to a court sentencing of 90 days in jail and a $150,000 fine, Smith said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Save the Bays, based in Freeport, Grand Bahama, seeks to protect the natural environment from unregulated development, according to spokesman Paco Nunez. While the nonprofit has fought with other developers, Nygard, who engaged in illegal dredging to benefit his property in the Bahamas, has been particularly aggressive, Nunez said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“It spiraled into our emails being stolen,” he said.
A phone call to Nygard at the company he founded was deferred to his assistant, who didn’t reply to an email seeking comment. Nygard’s press desk also didn’t reply to an email seeking comment. A spokesperson for Bacon and Moore Capital Management, the New York-based hedge fund firm he founded, declined to comment.
According to Smith, Callenders’ confidential emails were used in a complaint that Nygard filed against Bacon in New York this year. The lawsuit alleges that Bacon is part of conspiracy making false and damaging statements about Nygard for more than a decade.
Beyond prison time and the fine, Nygard was ordered to stop using the confidential emails that “persons unknown” published and misappropriated in court proceedings in New York, according to a document from the Supreme Court in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas that’s dated November 15. Within the seven days following that date, Nygard must also write an apology giving “full and verifiable reasons for his non-appearance” in court, the judge ruled.
Once those seven days have passed, Nygard will have to pay a $5,000 fine for each day he continues to use the emails or fails to provide the required apology, according to the document. Nygard has claimed that he cannot travel to the Bahamas for health-related reasons, Smith said.
Save the Bays, where Bacon is a director, seems satisfied with the latest turn in the long-running legal battle.
“Justice has been done,” Nunez said. “Save the Bays is relieved with the way the courts have handled the matter.”